MGA 1600

Here’s some­thing un­usual: an MGA that’s been lav­ishly re­stored in the US, with a five-speed Ford ’box and MGB cylin­der head

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - News - Nick Larkin

What’s it like TO Drive?

The changes to this MGA have made it more us­able rather than vastly quick, re­sult­ing in a happy cruiser at mo­tor­way speeds. The gear­box hasn’t swal­lowed up too much of the en­gine’s low-down torque and the gears are well spaced com­pared with a four-speed car with over­drive. There’s no mu­si­cal gear whine ei­ther. The rest of the car ap­pears to have been kept as orig­i­nal as pos­si­ble, but the brakes cope sur­pris­ingly well with the ex­tra power and the steer­ing in­spires con­fi­dence. The sus­pen­sion is also free of slack.

Bodywork Check

This car has un­der­gone ex­ten­sive restora­tion in the USA. The paint­work is flaw­less, and what’s par­tic­u­larly nice is that it doesn’t look like the shiny two-pack that th­ese cars nor­mally end up wear­ing, but is closer to the fin­ish it would have had in 1959. There’s only the tini­est amount of dulling of the chrome around the MG badge on the ra­di­a­tor. This must al­ready have been an ex­cel­lent car prior to restora­tion, as we can see no ev­i­dence of weld­ing or other work. The panel fit is good and there’s no creas­ing on the car’s flanks. The chas­sis looks as sound as when it left the fac­tory, and the hood is ex­cel­lent too. The wire wheels have no signs of scuffs or wear.

HOW’s The In­te­rior?

Seats have been re­trimmed to a very high and au­then­tic stan­dard, down to the pleat in the middle of the cen­tre arm­rest. Door cards have also been re­newed, with the screw heads re­main­ing ex­posed as orig­i­nal. The wood-rimmed steer­ing wheel looks new, and the dash­board has been fin­ished to the high­est of stan­dards. The in­stru­ments are all in show­room con­di­tion, as is the wood-topped gear lever.

Un­der The Bon­net

Ev­ery item un­der this MGA’s rust-and dint-free bon­net has been beau­ti­fully de­tailed, and ap­pears to have had a lot of time and money spent on it. Ever the heater box looks like new. The rocker cover is in the cor­rect shade of dark red, with an ex­cit­ing glimpse of the MGB-spec cylin­der head below it. The en­gine runs su­perbly and there’s no sign or sound of that alu­minium cylin­der head caus­ing any prob­lems; our test drive re­vealed no in­di­ca­tions of over­heat­ing and there’s no ev­i­dence of leaks or seep­age.

Our Ver­dict

This US-re­stored car is in su­perb con­di­tion, al­though it’s a shame it doesn’t come with much in the way of his­tory. This one has cer­tainly had ev­ery mi­nor de­tail at­tended to and drives ex­tremely well. The ven­dor will con­vert it to right-hand drive if re­quired.

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